Fire activity increased Monday afternoon on the Woodhead Fire with higher winds, hotter temperatures, and low relative humidity, according to a Tuesday update from the Payette National Forest. The fire started on Sept. 7, and had reached 68,365 acres as of Wednesday, with containment estimated to be at 32%. There are 294 total personnel on the fire, and resources include four helicopters, 17 engines, six crews and three dozers
Fire growth was mainly on the northeast side, toward Cuddy Mountain and up Cracker Jack Creek, prompting evacuations for residents above Upper Dale, Paradise Flat, North Hornet and West Mill Creek. Today’s weather is expected to be calmer with warmer temperatures and lighter winds. A cold front is expecting later this week, with lower temperatures and higher humidity.
The closure on Highway 71 has been lifted. Road guards may remain in place on each end of the fire area to caution travelers of falling rocks, equipment working adjacent to the roadway, and possible delays. Motorists are urged to travel slowly, look out for firefighters, and keep headlights on through the fire area.
While containment percentage went down due to the increase in size, firefighters continue to improve and create containment lines on the fire perimeter on Monday. Most of the western perimeter has now been contained and the heel of the fire, near Cambridge is mostly contained as well. Firefighters continue to monitor the area and mop up any interior hot spots.
Team #4 is working closely with the Washington and Adams County Sheriff, Idaho, Department of Lands, Boise District Bureau of Land Management, and Payette National Forest to evaluate the potential for continued fire growth and determine the best actions to contain the fire safely. As the fire continues to grow towards the Cuddy Mountains, there are opportunities to use natural features as fire breaks.
EVACUATIONS – Evacuations remained in place on Tuesday for several areas, including Seid Creek, East Pine/Pine Estates, Advent Gulch, upper Rush Creek, Cow Creek, Upper Dale, Paradise Flat, North Hornet and West Mill Creek. Residents may be escorted in to care for animals; contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at (208) 414.2121 or the Adams County Sheriff at (208) 253.5227. The Red Cross is available at (800) 853.2570 to assist evacuees.
CLOSURES – Arterial roads leading from Highway 71 between West Pine Creek and the Oregon state line are still closed. The Payette National Forest has issued an area closure for the safety of firefighters and the public.